Chanel Designer History:
Right from her primary hat store, that she started out in 1912, to the 1920s, Gabrielle Bonheur 'Coco' Chanel grew up to become one of the leading fashion designers in Paris, France. She took the fashion world by surprise, presenting new and unique styles that expressed sophisticated classiness, style and glamour. Swapping the corset with easy and relaxed classiness, her fashion styles associated uncomplicated outfits and dresses, women's pants, costume jewelry, fragrance and fabrics. With her branded boxy jackets and knee-length dresses, her brand rapidly evolved into the domination of the elite French society.

She stated a birth date of 1893 and a birthplace of Auvergne, although she was in fact born in 1883 in Saumur - her mother labored in the poorhouse where Gabrielle was born, and passed away when Gabrielle was merely six, leaving behind her father with five children whom he quickly deserted to the care of other close family members.

She used the name Coco at the time of a short profession as a restaurant and show performer from 1905 to 1908. First a mistress of a rich military officer then of an English industrial man, she used the assets and connections of these people in establishing a millinery store in Paris in 1910, growing to Deauville and Biarritz. The two men also assisted her in finding clients between ladies of the high society, and her easy wearing hats started to be well-liked.

Before long her business was evolving to clothes, operating in jersey, a very first in the French fashion world. By the 1920s, her fashion house had grown substantially, and her chemise (long shirt like dress) set a fashion style with its "little boy" look. Her casual styles, short dresses, and everyday fashions were in clear difference to the corset styles preferred in the prior years. Chanel herself dressed up in mannish outfits, and tailored these more relaxing styles that many other ladies likewise found liberating.

In 1922 Chanel presented a perfume, Chanel No. 5, that grew to become popular and stayed popular, until this day and continues to be a successful product of Chanel's company. In 1924 Pierre Wertheimer became her partner in the fragrance business, and probably was also her lover. Wertheimer held 70% of the company while Coco Chanel acquired 10% and her good friend Bader 20%. The Wertheimer’s still manage the perfume company these days.

Coco Chanel presented her signature sweater coat in 1925 followed by her signature "little black dress" in 1926. The majority of her styles had a lasting and enduring lifespan, and did not alter significantly from season to season.

For a short time she served as a nurse in World War I. During the Nazi occupation the fashion enterprise in Paris had been shut down for several years. Chanel's affair, during World War II with a Nazi officer, damaged her reputation for several years while on exile to Switzerland. In 1954 her return recovered her to the high class of haute couture. Her natural everyday apparel such as the Chanel outfit yet again grabbed the attention and money of women. She launched pea coats and bell bottom trousers for women. She was still working in 1971 when she passed away.

Besides her work with high fashion, she also created stage costumes for such performing’s as Cocteau's Antigone (1923) and Oedipus Rex (1937) and movie outfits for a number of films, such as Renoir's La Regle de Jeu. In the 1969 Broadway musical “Coco” that was based on the life of Coco Chanel starred Katharine Hepburn.

Chanel Fragrance History:
In 1921 Coco Chanel introduced Chanel No. 5 her first perfume, which would eventually turn into the most widely known women's fragrance on the planet. In 1955 she launched her first-ever men's fragrance, Pour Monsieur. After her death, more scents would appear: Cristalle EDT and for men, Antaeus.

In 1981 Karl Lagerfeld was positioned Artistic Director of Chanel Fashion and along with him arrived even greater successful aromas. In 1984 he presented Coco, a fragrance in honor to the late legendary designer. With the tremendous success of the ladies perfume Allure in 1996, he developed a men’s edition that was suitably named Allure Homme. Some of the latest perfumes to make their debut is Chance, Bleu De Chanel and Coco Noir.

See all Fragrances by Chanel


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